Dining at The Carnivore is one of the highly recommended activities for tourists in Kenya. It was selected by Restaurant Magazine twice as one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
When the restaurant opened in 1980, it was popular because of the game meat they served. In 2004, the serving of game meat is banned by the Kenyan Government but still the place is worth checking out.
That as early as our planning sessions, Antik and I agreed to never miss it for the world in our October, 2011 Kenya trip. Never mind that it took us almost half a day just to get from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to our hotel in Nairobi City. If at all, being stuck in traffic made us more determined to try this “Beast of a Feast”.
Alas, the travel from our hotel to The Carnivore further worsened our hunger. Yup, yup! Antik and I were certainly ready for this feast.
The restaurant has an al-fresco Africa theme with its wooden interior, African art and animal-patterned seat covers.
As we stepped inside the open-air restaurant, we were greeted by this huge charcoal pit teeming with different kinds of meat. The appetite-inducing aroma of the grilled meat invites you to a culinary experience of a lifetime.
We took our seat and in a second, an attendant comes to us to explain The Carnivore’s menu and the sequence that it will be served.
The restaurant crew wear animal-patterned shirts, zebra-striped aprons and straw hats. Carvers carry Masai swords of different prime meats.
We were initially served appetizer which consists of soup, loaf of home-made brown bread and butter and potato wedges served in wooden wares to match the restaurant’s theme.
Not long after, a double-decker carousel which contains various salads and sauces were served. The waiter explained which sauces go well with what meat but a hungry hippo will never remember.
On top of the carousel is the Carnivore flag which remains to be raised to signal that your stomach can still take more. Once your stomach surrenders, you can lower the flag to signal “defeat”.
Afterwards, we were given our sizzling cast-iron plates to signal that the main course is following. Various meats were brought by the carvers who graciously served us. One is spoilt for choice, whether it be barbecue meat or sausages.
I cant recall the meat I ate but I know I refused to have crocodile meat. I tried bull testicles instead, and they were surprisingly good.
Dawa, which means medicine or magic potion in Swahili, is a house cocktail. It is a mixture of Smirnoff vodka, lemon wedges, local honey, some sugar and lots of ice. Unfortunately, the stingy side of us prevailed and we passed up on this drink.
Antik and I did try to sample everything The Carnivore had to offer. It really was a beast of a feast but we even found space to order cheesecake for dessert.
It is impossible to leave with unsatisfied belly. Quality-wise and quantity-wise, I think The Carnivore delivered. Not to forget the ever-smiling and friendly crew who made our dining experience a very pleasant one.
When in Nairobi, be sure to treat yourself to a banquet fit for a carnivorous king!There is no sincerer love than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw
Langata Road, Near Wilson Airport,
PO Box 56685, City Square 00200, Nairobi,
Tel: 020 6005933-7 6002764
Mobile: 0733611608 / 0722204648
Fax: 020 6002990/3